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3 Brain Hacks to get you out of a funk or to de-stress
April 30, 2018
I’ve literally helped 1000s of people over the years. And, as a coach, I know a lot of what keeps people from getting to the next level in their life is simply what they believe. You change the belief, and you can change the behavior.
But often I’ll talk to people and they will tell me:
“I don’t know what’s wrong me. I just wake up sad.”
Or, “I wake up depressed.”
Or, “I just wake up in a funk.”
And they have a desire to go deep and to figure out what has happened, or what they believe that’s keeping them in a funk every day or that’s giving them stress.
So one of the questions that I’ll ask to clarify is:
“Can you point to a certain issue in your life that you’re sad or depressed about or is this just a vague feeling?”
When the funk is in force and it can’t be attributed to a specific cause, then I know that we’re not talking about belief systems as much as we are about body chemistry.
The fact is: Your brain is smart, but it’s not that smart.
Many of us are waking up with the feeling of being in a funk and because our brain just simply reflects the feeling, we think things must not be going that well.
That’s what biofeedback is: our brain is being told by our body how to feel, so then our brain simply reflects that onto how we should feel about the world. So if your body is saying, “I feel funky,” your brain says, “You are in a funk. This is not going to be a good day. Maybe you should just stay in bed.”
I find this is pretty consistent with people who are feelers. It’s easy to find the feelers because they’re always saying, “I feel like…”
And there’s nothing wrong with feelings as long as your feelings are telling you the truth. If they are not telling you the truth, then you can’t let them lead you.
So let me show you what you can do about the funk. And this works because we’re simply talking about body chemistry and not the facts about your life or about your belief systems.
HACK #1: Get Moving
The quickest, easiest way to get out of the funk is to get your body moving. And this is a difficult thing because, again, your body is partnering with your brain to keep you in bed. So you’re going to have to enlist the power of your will until this becomes a habit.
When you start moving, you start shifting your body chemistry.
Get yourself out of bed and start doing something. I’m not saying that you have to run 5 miles, but you do need to get your heart going. Once you do, you’ll shift your body chemistry by releasing endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
Once your brain starts having these “feel good” chemicals hitting it, it’ll start aligning with thoughts that will help you throughout the day.
Now you don’t have to just do this in the morning. A brisk walk or running in place in your office can lower anxiety and make your even immune to pain.
Obviously, the more you do, the more you’ll experience the benefits, but I’m not trying to get you to become an endurance athlete. I just want you to start somewhere!
HACK #2: Start Smiling
Hack #2 is to simply start smiling.
You don’t have to wait to hear a joke or wait for something to happen that’s funny to happen to hack your brain on this one.
Again we are back to biofeedback:
Typically, when you’re happy, you smile, right?
Well, your brain is responding to your smile and says, “Hey, we’re happy!”
And here’s the cool thing: If you smile – even a willful act of smiling that’s not connected to something funny – your brain will think: “I’m smiling. That must mean I’m happy.”
And since 80% of our students (and 76% of coaches) are women, I want to share an important statistic with you:
Research has found that one smile can be as pleasurable and stimulating as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate!
I literally just got back from the story buying the women in my house a huge pack of Hershey’s candy bars. Now, I probably next time they ask me for chocolate, I probably can’t just convince them to smile instead, but it’s an astounding fact anyway!
HACK #3: Power Pose
Amy Cuddy has a great Ted Talk on this, so check her out for even more detailed information.
But what research has shown is that power posing one more brain hack when it comes to getting out of a funk and reducing stress.
But what is a power pose? Essentially, it’s when you take a body position that takes up more space. Generally speaking, that means that your arms and legs are apart from your body.
So how does power posing work in the body?
Well it causes a 10% testosterone increase and about a 25% decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
So when all this hits, your brain is like:
Oh, let’s be more assertive.
You are confident.
You are comfortable.
What does a power pose look like?
I didn’t want to use stock images or awkward pictures of myself, so I’ve enlisted the help of my beautiful 5 year old to demonstrate a few of them…
When someone wins, they strike the victory pose:
When someone is dominant or in control, they put their hands on their hips…
When someone is relaxed, they kick back communicating: “I’m comfortable, I’ve got this…
And here’s the cool thing: it only takes about 2 minutes for this hack to have an effect on your brain.
In conclusion, these are 3 hacks that you can implement today 20 minutes or less. Try them to see what kind of impact it makes on your day.
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